Halogen light bulbs are a type of incandescent light bulb. This surprises
many people who assume halogen bulbs are not at all the same. Halogen bulbs,
however, are filled with a special gas that actually rebuilds the filament and
provides longer average lifespan than normal incandescent bulbs. They come in
different shapes and sizes for various different uses. Some common halogen types
are PAR, JC, Double Ended, MR16, and A-Line or MB. Each of these has a
specific application in lighting but all have the same physical attributes
common to halogen light bulbs. Halogen bulbs burn about 10 percent brighter,
whiter, a hotter than normal incandescent bulbs. Extra heat is typically not a
benefit, but whiter, bright light is something that is useful in a large number
of lighting applications. This is especially useful in retail showrooms, where
color levels and quality are important to making the products for sale look the
best. These are also used heavily in track lighting applications because of the
wonderful light they give off and the excellent beam control.
Bipin, standard screw-in, mini candelabra, wedge base, double contact
bayonet, and double ended are the main base types that are available. Within the
bipin category, there are different sizes, which generally run from G4 to G6.35
to GY6.35 to G8 to GU9. The number listed on these bulbs represents the number
of millimeters between the pins. These have many uses including task
lighting, under cabinet or showcase lighting. The other bases listed above are
all one-size only.
Controversy has arisen about the hazards of using high wattage halogen light
bulbs in standard torchiere floor lamps. These lamps would, on rare occasion,
cause something nearby (a curtain for example) to catch on fire if it came into
contact with the halogen bulb. This has very little to do with the bulbs being
halogen at all. The high wattage being so close to flammable objects was the
true problem. Whether the bulbs were halogen, standard incandescent, or
whatever, a 500-watt bulb of any kind will generate amazing amounts of heat.
In the case of tochiere lamps, they are an open fixtures exposing the lamp and
the heat it generates to the area around it. It's not hazardous if it's kept
away from flammable materials, so keep in mind where you place these fixtures,
halogen bulbs or not.
Halogen light bulbs should not be touched with your skin in any way. If they
are touched, the life span of the bulb will be greatly reduced. In case you ever
do touch a halogen light bulb, wipe it thoroughly with a soft cloth. Bulbs that
are covered, like the PAR and some of the MR halogen light bulbs, are OK to
touch, since you are not touching the actual bulb but a heavy, thick glass that
covers the light bulb. Most commonly, they are put into an enclosure but
be aware of touching a halogen capsule itself directly, is not a good idea.
In summary, halogen light bulbs are available in wide varieties and sizes,
and can be used, among many other things, to replace standard incandescent light
bulbs. Yes, even the venerable 60 watt 120 volt A-Line standard light bulb used
by millions upon millions of people everyday in numerous places can be replaced
by halogen light bulbs. They will emit a whiter, brighter light that is
considered by a vast majority of people more desirable than regular light bulbs.